Outright Accounting Review

outright accounting reviewOutright Online Accounting was created by two former employees of Intuit to provide web-based accounting help to small business owners.

They realized, through their own experiences, that too much time is often spent by  entrepreneurs on the least favorite part of ownership – keeping the company books updated and organized.

Many of the accounting tasks are automated through Outright, which also categorizes expenses, receipts and taxes. Once the data is collected, the system’s charts and graphs can quickly provide a snapshot of the financial situation of the business.

Outright is geared specifically to sole proprietorships and single-member limited liability corporations Continue reading “Outright Accounting Review”

Quickbooks Alternatives? Outright Accounting is Easier (and Less Expensive)

Outright Accounting:  Alternative to Quickbooks

Whether taking advantage of the Internet to start a small business or going the more conventional route, many entrepreneurs find themselves struggling with the day-to-day aspects of accounting and tax preparation.

While bookkeeping is a necessary evil to keep the business running, most owners would prefer to concentrate on ways to improve and grow the company– rather than getting bogged down in paperwork and accounting.

For years, Quickbooks was the answer for those who needed accounting help but couldn’t afford to hire an actual accountant. In recent years, several rivals have appeared, to challenge Quickbooks.  One of the smartest Quickbooks alternatives right now is called  Outright Accounting. Continue reading “Quickbooks Alternatives? Outright Accounting is Easier (and Less Expensive)”

Shoeboxed Review

Do you still save your business receipts in a  big, unorganized pile on your desk or in a drawer (or maybe a shoebox)?

Honestly, my time feels better spent trying to make advertising decisions or staff decisions, but the reality is…I also MUST pay attention to the finances of my business. Left to my own devices, I tend to procrastinate when it comes to expense receipts and accounting types of things.

“Oh, it’s just a couple of receipts…” I tell myself, as I toss them into an ever-growing pile on top of my filing cabinet. And every month, without fail, this ‘couple of receipts’ thing has grown to 50 or 100+ receipts…ugh.

Then the first of the month rolls around and I panic once again about my disorganization last month…and spend 3-4 hours getting things organized and sorted out. In time time to start all over again with the next month. Does this sound familiar??

Shoeboxed: Receipt Tracking and Organizing

Shoeboxed is a web-based accounting service designed to ease the bookkeeping burden of small business owners (and road warriors)  by organizing their receipts, bills and even business cards for them.

There are three paid account levels and one free.  Under the paid levels, customers mail their business documents in sturdy, self-addressed stamped envelopes to Shoeboxed, which then scans and organizes them into an account.

You are probably wondering how exactly Shoeboxed is going to  help you organize.  You have several options, and my favorite is the first one. (this is genius, in my opinion)

1.  You can simply take photos of receipts with an iPhone or Android  (or your iPad!) and email them to your secured Shoeboxed address. (your own personal ‘receipt vault’ awaits on the other end)

Apple has an app and there is an Android app, called ‘Shoeboxed Receipt Tracker’.

Simplify your taxes & bookkeeping - Shoeboxed.com

2.  You can e-mail receipts directly from your desktop. (you will need a scanner for small paper receipts)

3. The Shoeboxed premium service allows you to just scoop up the pile of papers and receipts and mail them, in a special envelope, for processing by Shoeboxed. (kind of like your own personal file clerk)

Once processed into the system, the documents can be viewed, e-mailed, printed or downloaded into a variety of formats, including Excel, CSV, PDF, Quickbooks and Quicken.  Shoeboxed also helps get your business ready for tax season by keeping digital copies of records, which are accepted by the IRS, all in one place.

Business cards can be exported to e-mail accounts, LinkedIn and Salesforce.

What About the Security of My Documents and Receipts?

This issue concerns a lot of people, especially those who might want to opt for the mail-in service. “Are my documents safe? What about my personal information that is being sent through the mail?…” You may be wondering the same things.

The security of the website AND the Shoeboxed facility is taken very seriously by the company. Here is what their website has to say about this concern: (source:  www.shoeboxed.com/security)

Your Online Security

Receipts, business cards and other documents are important records of your daily life and business, and we are absolutely dedicated to the security of your information. From day one when we started programming the site, we have kept security as our highest priority, and we believe that it is in fact safer to store your documents on Shoeboxed.com than it is to keep them at home.

When you start using Shoeboxed, the new permanent home of your receipts and business cards is shoeboxed.com, where you can view them from any Internet-connected computer. The connection between your Internet browser and shoeboxed.com is secured by Secure Socket Layer encryption (or SSL), the same strong encryption used by online banks and medical information services. This makes it virtually impossible for someone to intercept and make sense of communication between your computer and our servers.

While your receipts and business cards are housed at Shoeboxed, we are dedicated to keeping them safe and secure. Our networks are designed with security in mind and are constantly monitored.

Shoeboxed has been certified by TRUSTe, the trusted leader on online privacy and security. A nonprofit organization, TRUSTe promotes solid security practices on the Internet. After investigating our privacy policies and our practices securing your personal data, TRUSTe has certified Shoeboxed as a site that protects your privacy.

To insure against hardware failure or natural disaster, our servers are backed up at least every 24 hours to an undisclosed remote location. We are equipped to have the most recent backup of the site up and running on new servers at a remote site within five business days of a catastrophe. For this reason alone, Shoeboxed.com can be much safer than your home computer for organizing receipts and business cards. Our servers also have multiple connections to the internet for uninterrupted access.

Receipt Mail-In Security

While your receipts and business cards are in transit, they are subject to the security policies of the U.S. Postal Service (or whatever carrier you use to expedite them). Once we receive them, an authorized Shoeboxed team member will retrieve them from the USPS bring them directly to our processing facilities. All of our employees are subject to background checking before we hire them, and all employees closely supervised and highly trained.

Our offices are protected by a 24/7 security service. Though we are part of a lively, pedestrian friendly area of Durham, we are the only people with access to our operations facility. Our offices are also protected with digital locks, key-card access and double locks again to our processing facilities.

Say goodbye to paper clutter! Shoeboxed.com

 Shoeboxed Features

  • Pay plans – The Lite Plan is $9.95 per month and includes 50 documents; the Classic plan is $29.95 and allows 150;   the business level is $49.95 a month and provides for up to 500 documents per month to be sent.
  • Security – A 128-bit SSL data encryption system is used to protect information. Shoeboxed will send original copies   back to the customer if desired under the Classic and Business plans, or will shred them on site under other plans or at the request of the sender.
  • Compatibility – Data can be used with Excel, CSV, PDF, Quickbooks and Quicken. Digital receipts are accepted by the IRS and business cards can be exported to e-mail contact lists, LinkedIn and Salesforce.
  • Turnaround – Documents sent digitally are processed within one business day, while those mailed will be done within two to four business days.

Shoeboxed Reviews: What do other users say?

Most users of Shoeboxed report being very happy with the ease of the service and the way it helps to  reduce paper clutter AND save time. The  iPhone/Android apps very are popular. (and again, don’t forget your iPad..that’s how I snap quick photos of my receipts)

     >>Click Here For a 30-Day Free Trial of  Shoeboxed<<

Overall, Shoeboxed  is an asset to any small business owner looking to get away from the mundane tasks of bookkeeping and filing of receipts. It also helps to eliminate paper clutter by digitally organizing documents. Get the 30-day free trial account and see how well it works for you.

Shoeboxed.com - Scan Receipts and Business Cards


Freshbooks Review

Freshbooks is an online accounting service geared toward small business owners who may need help with bookkeeping duties but may not have the resources to hire someone. The service is especially useful for billing purposes and tracking employees’ time.

(Admin note:  I personally use this software and would not be without it.  I despise technical, geeky software programs and invoicing software — I found it simple to set up and it is simple to use ongoing)

A company logo can even be added to invoices created through Freshbooks, enhancing the professionalism of the documents.

The system helps owners by sending out reminders on invoices and has been designed to work well with many other cloud-based accounting applications. Freshbooks accepts online payments from several different sources.

Because it works on cloud technology, a business owner can access financial information from any Internet-capable computer or even an iPhone. For example, an owner flying on a trip could receive up to the minute information on their company during the flight. The information remains protected through an encryption system and the data is regularly backed up and saved.

Freshbooks features

*Tracks income and expenses

*No monthly fee if three or fewer clients are billed

*Create or import databases of companies, contacts and products

*Customizable invoices can be e-mailed or sent via U.S. mail

*Payments collected from a variety of online sources

*Clients have online access to invoices and account history

*Status page shows all open invoices and estimates, as well as the last time clients logged in

*Project estimates can be created and e-mailed to clients for approval

*An auto bill feature is available to bill customers’ credit cards

*Data security includes 256 bit encryption, data backups and firewall

Freshbooks User Reviews…

The system receivs almost universally glowing reviews from those who use it.  Since many small business owners prefer to concentrate on ways to grow the business rather than the day-to-day details of actually running it, Freshbooks ease of use and simple setup are especially popular features.

The multitude of add on programs Freshbooks is compatible with also seems to be a nice feature.  The customer service received very good reviews, which is an area some similar online accounting services seemed to be lacking.

Freshbooks Allows You To Use Multiple Payment Sourcesf

Another advantage for the system is its ability to accept online payment from up to 11 different sources, including PayPal, Google Checkouts and e-checks. One user enjoyed how simple it was to use and even commented that it encouraged him to do more work. Whenever he logged time for a client the submit button changed to an encouraging statement like “Way to go” or “Nice work.”

Small business owners generally prefer to use their time thinking about the product or service they provide and how to make it better rather than worrying about sending out bills. Freshbooks seems like a good solution at an economical price. It has loads of options available and requires no accounting training.



Small Business Bookkeeping

Cloud-based help available for small business Bookkeeping

small business bookkeepingStarting a small business and making it successful is the dream of many Americans. In light of the struggling economy, more people are deciding to strike out and start their own venture. Today’s technology in many ways makes starting a new small business easier than ever.

Unfortunately, the creativity and drive that can lead someone to start a small business may not translate to one of the most important aspects of running a company, keeping the books. Small business owners must not only market their product or service and attract customers, they also have to maintain accounting records, send out and keep track of invoices and stay up to date on tax codes. Overlooking any of these can be detrimental to the business.

Luckily, many companies are offering cloud-based computer solutions to these problems. Most of them offer free trial periods to try their program out to see if it will work for you and some even provide a very basic level of service free of charge. These applications help organize a business without requiring any formal training for the person using the programs. Many users report they are able to cut out hours of paperwork each week.

There are several of these applications available and many are cloud-based, meaning your business data is saved on their secure servers. If the business computer goes down or is stolen, that data remains intact. Each one offers bookkeeping and organizational services in different ways.

Outright Online Accounting organizes all the business information by pulling it into one place. It also automatically categorizes transactions into the proper tax areas, keeping owners up to date on what they will owe the IRS.

For those who do not want to enter their own information, Shoeboxed allows users to mail or electronically senddocuments to them for entry. The information is then organized into proper categories and can be searched using name, date or payment type.

Freshbooks specializes in sending and managing invoices online. It also helps a business accept payment through PayPal, e-checks or credit card and even will send out automatic payment reminders to clients so you don’t have to keep track of those.

One of the most well-known bookkeeping aids is Quick Books. It also allows business owners to create invoices, track expenses and sales and keeps track of taxes.

Wading through piles of receipts, bills and business cards can be the bane of any small business owner. Those documents are all important to growing the company, but sifting through them can be time consuming and takes away from finding ways to improve sales. By taking advantage of a cloud-based accounting service, that time can be recaptured and put to better use.